Khulna, Central Business District. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University

APPLY NOW: Research Associate Data Lead

The GCRF Centre for Sustainable Cities and Neighbourhoods (SHLC) is looking for a new Research Associate focussing on data management and comparative analysis to join our international team.

Are you interested in urban development and data of all different kinds? We need you!

SHLC’s Research Associate – Data Lead will be based at the University of Glasgow and will join an international team of 50 experts from a range of disciplines and countries including Bangladesh, China, the Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania.

APPLY BY 8 JULY – http://bit.ly/SHLCdatalead

Job Purpose

To make a leading contribution to the project: GCRF Centre for Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods (SHLC). Specifically, the job requires expert knowledge in the area of quantitative and qualitative data collection, analysis and management. Candidates with experience in Development Studies and/or computer science, statistical programming or research data management are encouraged to apply. This role will also support an international household survey in 14 cities across Africa and Asia.

As a successful candidate you will also be required to contribute to the formulation and submission of research publications and research proposals as well as help manage and direct this complex and challenging project as opportunities allow.

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about the role, please do not hesitate to contact the SHLC project team at: shlc-info@glasgow.ac.uk.

SHLC is funded via UK Research and Innovation as part of the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund.


People drive in heavy traffic in Manila, Philippines

APPLY NOW: Research Associate Development Studies

The GCRF Centre for Sustainable Cities and Neighbourhoods (SHLC) is looking for a new Research Associate to join our international team and explore fast-growing cities across Africa and Asia.

Are you interested in cities, urbanisation and international development? We need you!

SHLC’s Research Associate in Development Studies will be based at the University of Glasgow and will join an international team of 50 experts from a range of disciplines and countries including Bangladesh, China, the Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania.

APPLY BY 14 JUNE – http://bit.ly/SHLCDevStudies

Job Purpose

To make a leading research and knowledge exchange contribution to the GCRF Centre for Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods (SHLC). Specifically, the job requires expert knowledge in the area of development studies in relation to Africa and/or Asia. We will also consider candidates with special development studies knowledge from disciplines such as area studies, human geography, demography, gender studies, development politics and urban studies. Candidates with a strong interest in development theory are particularly encouraged to apply.

The post-holder will also be required to contribute to the formulation and submission of research publications and research proposals and to knowledge exchange activities, as well as make a contribution to the management of this complex and challenging project.

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about the role, please do not hesitate to contact the SHLC project team at: shlc-info@glasgow.ac.uk.

SHLC is funded via UK Research and Innovation as part of the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund.


Vulnerability in informal settlements, Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University, Bangladesh.

Rwanda’s Neighbourhoods: In the Eyes of Two Bangladeshis

In this picture blog, Irfan Shakil and Professor Tanjil Sowgat from the SHLC team in Bangladesh reflect on a recent research trip to Rwanda. Their images provide a glimpse into what daily life is like in Rwanda’s neighbourhoods and illustrate how different, but sometimes similar, the neighbourhoods are to their home towns.

Image credits: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University, Bangladesh.

Vulnerability in informal settlements, Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University, Bangladesh.
Vulnerability in informal settlements, Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University, Bangladesh.

Vulnerability in informal settlements: The temporary tin shades, congested living and settlement on difficult hilly terrain. I’ve seen similar vulnerabilities in my own home town in Bangladesh.

Informal settlements, Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University, Bangladesh.
Informal settlements, Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University, Bangladesh.

Slums in Kigali: We’ve never seen permanent plinth and brick walls and even metered electric connection in slums Bangladesh. Are these signs of better tenure security in comparison to Bangladesh?

Segregation in Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University, Bangladesh.
Segregation in Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University, Bangladesh.

Segregation in Kigali: The poor are living in the wetlands while elites live in protected land.  It reminds me of the slums in the elite Gulshan area, a planned residential area of Bangladesh.

Planned residential area in Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University, Bangladesh.
Planned residential area in Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University, Bangladesh.

Planned residential area in Kigali: Beautifully planned neighbourhoods in Kigali are very different from its poor neighbourhood. Everything is so perfect, but we wondered why they did not have footpaths there! Are pedestrians marginalised just like Bangladesh or does Rwanda want to promote a card dependent neighbourhood?

Cleanliness in Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University, Bangladesh.
Cleanliness in Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University, Bangladesh.

Cleanliness of Kigali: The clean and green roads were amazing and were very different from Bangladeshi cities.

Car free road in Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University, Bangladesh.
Car free road in Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University, Bangladesh.

Car free road in Kigali: A great initiative by the Kigali city authority to have car free road, which is unthinkable in the case of Bangladesh.

Skyline of Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University, Bangladesh.
Skyline of Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University, Bangladesh.

Skyline of Kigali: Low rise buildings and the green all around the hilly city. This view proudly tells me that the city is yet to become congested, and it still admires green.

Peri urban Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University, Bangladesh.
Peri urban Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University, Bangladesh.

Peri-urban Kigali: The peri-urban Kigali attracts middle and higher middle-income people who moved from the main city to get access to affordable housing. However, I was surprised to see the poor road conditions. People built houses even though they had limited access to paved roads!

Community participatory activities and meetings, Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University, Bangladesh.
Community participatory activities and meetings, Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University, Bangladesh.

Community participatory activities and meeting: People initiate community development works with conducting time to time meeting to plan their activities.

Planned Neighbourhood in Huye, Rwanda. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University, Bangladesh.
Planned Neighbourhood in Huye, Rwanda. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University, Bangladesh.

Planned Neighbourhood in Huye: Interesting use of road paving in Kigali. The planned town of Huye gave me a pleasant surprise. These places are much different from our apartment dominated planned areas in Bangladesh. I was amazed to see how the country recovered the shocks of genocide and did so much to bring positive changes.


Khulna mixed commercial area along KDA Avenue. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University

Public Lecture: The Future of Urban Research in Bangladesh

Public Lecture: The Future of Urban Research in Bangladesh

  • Tuesday 21 May

  • 14:00-16:00

  • Yudowitz Lecture Theatre, Wolfson Medical Building, University of Glasgow

In the face of uneven urbanisation, diverse critical urban challenges, and climate vulnerability of cities, Bangladesh must strengthen its urban research so that effective policies and practices can help build sustainable cities. With no national urban research institutes in place, universities are the incubators for crosscutting urban studies.

In this public lecture, Professor Mohammad Fayek Uzzaman – Vice Chancellor of Khulna University, will share the potentials of urban research and challenges in creating a supportive research environment in Bangladesh. Professor Shamim Mahabubul Haque and Assistant Professor Dr Shilpi Roy will share key findings and innovative research approaches from different collaborative urban research projects at Khulna University, such as the Centre Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods.

Following the public lecture there will be an opportunity to network with presenters and attendees. Refreshments and canapés will be available.

Presenters:

  • Professor Mohammad Fayek Uzzaman – Vice Chancellor, Khulna University
  • Professor  Shamim Mahabubul Haque – Department of Urban and Rural Planning, Khulna University
  • Assistant Professor Dr Shilpi Roy – Co-Investigator for the Centre Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods (SHLC), Department of Urban and Rural Planning, Khulna University

Background:

Public universities have a commitment to bring change to their country and beyond. Research is prioritised in all Bangladeshi Universities, but there is a significant shortage of funding, infrastructure and management support. Creating a supportive environment for research remains a challenge.

The presenters will discuss the successes and challenge of Khulna University’s urban research. Professor Mohammad Fayek Uzzaman is an important figure in policy formulation for Universities in Bangladesh will present available institutional supports and relevant management issues. Through discussion with the audience, this public lecture will aim to co-understand how we can ensure a better future for urban and other research in the universities of Bangladesh.

 


Counter-mapping in the Philippines. Credit: University of the Philippines

Seminar: Counter-mapping for Urban Social Justice - Dispossession, Resistance and Spaces of Hope

Seminar: Counter-mapping for Urban Social Justice - Dispossession, Resistance and Spaces of Hope

  • Wednesday 1 May

  • 10:00-12:00 (BST)

  • Room 718, Adam Smith Building, University of Glasgow

This seminar will be streamed live via zoom: https://uofglasgow.zoom.us/j/308172348

How can maps be used to understand and respond to issues of urban social justice?

During this seminar, co-organised by SHLC and the Glasgow Centre for International Development (GCID), researchers from the University of the Philippines and the University of Glasgow will present key findings from a participatory counter-mapping project in the Philippines and highlight how communities and their lands are being erased.

Following the seminar attendees will have the chance to visit a small photographic and video exhibition to explore outputs, which were co-produced with the community, such as maps, satellite data, aerial footage captured by drones and more.

The seminar and exhibition will showcase a set of progressive and mixed media counter-mapping methodologies that are participatory, emancipatory and creative, which the research team are trialling and developing in collaboration with communities.

Background

The Philippine government is currently developing a 9,450 hectare urban project touted as the country’s first “smart” and “resilient” city, called “New Clark City”, which is located in the North of Manilla. Whilst supporting urban development, the project is negatively impacting thousands of residents, including peasants and indigenous peoples currently living in surrounding villages.

Researchers from the University of the Philippines and the University of Glasgow have been collaborating with affected communities to help them articulate their right to land and highlight their experience of dispossession. For example, through the co-production of maps and screening of drone footage capturing urban transformation, the research team have verified villagers’ accounts of dispossession.

Facilitators

  • Assistant Professor Dr Yany Lopez – University of the Philippines
  • Assistant Professor Ma Simeona Martinez – University of the Philippines
  • Research Fellow Dr Andre Ortega – University of Glasgow

This project was funded with support from the Global Challenges Research Fund and the Scottish Funding Council.


Dr Ramjee Bhandari taking part in Umuganda. Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: Gail Wilson, University of Glasgow.

A Powerful Idea that can Inspire Community Driven Development in Bangladesh

This article was originally published by The Daily Star (Bangladesh). All views are the author’s own and not attributable to SHLC.

I went to Rwanda as part of the Sustainable Healthy and Learning City (SHLC) project, a consortium, to conduct research and explore global challenges to create sustainable and healthy cities in developing countries.

When I was travelling to Rwanda, I was expecting to meet with many uncertainties and challenges given that it’s a country still struggling to recover from the wounds of war and genocide.

But when I arrived, I was astonished to see how clean and green Rwanda’s capital Kigali is. People there follow traffic rules and diligently obey traffic signs. While visiting some neighbourhoods, I saw well-planned residential areas that adhered to urban design guidelines. Among many pleasant surprises, I was especially happy to discover “Umuganda”, an outstanding community initiative that I believe can set an example for the whole world. I was accompanied by more than 32 leading academics from seven participating countries including the United Kingdom, Philippines, India, China, Tanzania, South Africa, and Bangladesh. All the participants agreed that what Rwanda was doing through “Umuganda” could be emulated by the rest of the world.

Dr Ramjee Bhandari taking part in Umuganda. Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: Gail Wilson, University of Glasgow.
Dr Ramjee Bhandari taking part in Umuganda. Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: Gail Wilson, University of Glasgow.

Umuganda is a simple yet powerful idea; it’s a collaboration between members of a community with an aim to contribute to the development of the neighbourhood. They come together every last Saturday of the month. The community combines their efforts to clean roads, build infrastructure, mend roads, and more. They even close their shops and stop doing other activities for at least three hours (starting from 7am) so that they can devote time when working with other members of the community. We realised the seriousness and commitment of the government when we were stopped several times on our way to a community activity that we participated in. The police stopped us three times and were not convinced until we showed them proof that we had special permission from the city mayor.

We were once again pleasantly surprised when we arrived in a neighbourhood and became a part of their community work. That day, people gathered to repair a road that was heavily damaged by recent rain. Tracks brought soil from a nearby site to make the road usable for vehicles. The soil brought was volunteered by a neighbour who had a construction site which he dug and had the soil left over as a result. We were welcomed by the community and had a chance to work with them. During the community work, locals shared their stories of success of joint collaboration in many similar activities. They were happy that they were able to raise funds, however small, and no more relied on government funds.

"Africa gave me hope. If Rwanda can do this, why can't we?"

When we joined the post-work meeting along with the community, they explained that “Umuganda” meant “coming together with a common purpose to achieve an outcome.” It became official in 1974 although the practice began right after the independence of the country in 1962. The initiative in its current extent and form has been there since 1998 as part of an effort to rebuild the country after the ravage that followed the genocide of the Tutsi in the 90s. Although initially the government struggled to make this activity popular, it was gradually accepted and welcomed when people saw the results that Umuganda could bring. Because of its success in controlling erosion and building primary schools, administrative offices and health centres, the initiative began getting attention and praise. The success encouraged voluntary participation of the people and community leaders.

The activity is managed by selected committees which are responsible for organising, supervising, evaluating and reporting the work done and, more importantly, motivating people. Statistics reveal that Umuganda’s contribution to the country’s development since 2007 is estimated at more than USD 60 million. The results are visible all around the country, especially in Kigali, the capital city.

We visited a different neighbourhood as part of the project and noticed that the cities are very clean and found very little garbage on the streets. When talking to people, we were convinced that they took pride to be a part of this community-driven initiative. The self-dependency of the community was clearly recognised in the monetary participation of the community which ensured that neighbourhood watch and a system of solid waste collection could be provided.

The success of Umuganda is rooted in the commitment of the community—something that can easily be emulated in Bangladesh. Our culture and tradition of community bonding in rural areas especially can be utilised effectively in development programmes through activities such as Umuganda. As a result, labour costs and the amount of money being diverted to corruption would go down since the initiative would be participated in and financed by direct beneficiaries. In the face of rapid urbanisation and limited tax recovery by the government, people’s pro-active involvement in community work may highly benefit our country by creating better and sustainable neighbourhoods in cities and villages. This would give the community a sense of ownership and belonging. Be it traffic management, keeping our cities clean, or preventing the loss of greenery in neighbourhoods, community action can be very effective in resolving many issues.

Africa gave me hope. If Rwanda can do this, why can’t we? We have more people in our cities, we have strong community bonding, and we have achieved significant progress over the last few decades. With initiatives like Umuganda, we will be able to play our part in community development and be proud of ourselves.


Dar es Salaam aerial city scape

Tanzania: National Urban Policies and City Profiles for Dar es Salaam and Ifakara

Dar es Salaam aerial city scape

Overview

This research report reviews and analyses Tanzania’s planning and urban development policy documents for the last twenty years, identifying the key ideas and policies that have shaped the delivery of public services, paying particular attention to education and healthcare.

This report also presents city profiles for two of Tanzania’s cities: Dar es Salaam and Ifakara.

This report is written by the Ifakara Health Institute.

Key messages

The percentage of urbanisation in Tanzania has increased six-fold since the 1960s, rising from 5% to 33% in 2017 . Forecasts suggest this growth will continue. By 2045 there will be more urban residents compared to rural, with the urban population reaching 55.4% in 2050. In comparison to neighbouring East African countries, Tanzania’s urbanisation process is occurring faster and with a steeper incline.

However, such rapid growth has raised questions on what kind of urban areas are emerging and how prepared, or adaptable, these spaces are.

Migration and natural population increase are identified as the key causes of urbanisation in Tanzania. The 2012 Census showed a higher growth percentage per annum in urban areas (5%) compared to the total population (3%), with Dar es Salaam leading growth at 7% per annum. The data analysis also emphasises the importance of the growth of small towns, and migration patterns to/from small towns.

Urban space in Tanzania shows limited urban planning. This report shows, the lack of planning is historical, but where found limitations emerge in how planning is conceptualised, conducted, and implemented. Urban plans are prioritised for large cities, and there is no attempt to create a national urban plan recognising, and strengthening, the connections across rural-urban space.


Participatory photography, Ethiopia. Credit: David Walker/ODI

Online Seminar: An Introduction to Creative Research Methods

Online Seminar: An Introduction to Creative Research Methods

  • Wednesday 17 April

  • 10:00-12:00 (BST)

  • Online Seminar

This joint event, organised by SHLC and SUEUAA, will explore creative research methods. Creative methods are those that go beyond the traditional methods of focus groups, surveys, and interviews. These are methods that either utilise the natural environment or involve arts-based activities (such as music, photography, visual or performance arts) in order to address the research questions posed.

Watch recording and download presentation in the links below.

This 2 hour online seminar, delivered by Dr Joanne Neary (SUEUAA) and Dr Carli Rowell (SHLC), will provide a brief introduction to the theory and practice of participatory qualitative methods.

Using participatory methods in qualitative fieldwork is becoming increasingly popular, and are viewed as more inclusive than traditional qualitative methods (such as focus groups, interviews, and surveys). By using creative or arts-based approaches, it enables the research participant to take a more active role in the production of research data. Using a combination of lecture-based and participatory learning, this online seminar will cover key theories in participatory qualitative methods, explore ethical/political issues underpinning the approach, and will critically discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the application and analysis of these methods.

The online seminar will cover the following methodologies: walking interviews, participatory photography and resident-drawn maps. The workshop requires no prior knowledge of participatory qualitative methods, although some knowledge of general qualitative research would be advantageous.

This event is organised by SHLC and SUEUAA and funded by UKRI and the British Academy as part of the U.K. Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund.